Whales play around New Zealand coast 14 Jul 2011
- Air NZ reiterates warning of increased competition Business
- Supreme Tourism Award winner rockets to success Business
- Regional tourism spending on the climb News
- $20 million Invested in Growing Northland’s Economy News
- Chinese eye NZ tourism investment Business
- Waitangi estuary enhancement gets green light News
- All Blacks Tours wins growth award Business
- Visitor arrivals increase in August News
- Govt invests $3m in showcase for Lions Series News
- Study lays out West Coast growth opportunities News
Whale watching is a year-round pastime in New Zealand but come winter, the popular activity takes on a more serious role, and this year a busy migration period is providing valuable data as well as entertainment.
New Zealand is known as the marine mammal capital of the world and with 15,134 kilometres of coastline there are numerous opportunities to spot mammals especially during their winter migration.
Two main species track through New Zealand at this time of the year - humpback and southern right whales.
Cook Strait survey
An official Department of Conservation (DOC) survey in Cook Strait, between the North and South islands, has shown a record number of humpback whales passing through the area this year.
Survey leader Nadine Bott said 62 humpbacks had been spotted by the team of ex-whalers, just three weeks into the survey compared to 47 for the entire survey period last year.
The 2011 survey, which began on 11 June, finished on Saturday (9.07.2011) July.
The annual poll assesses recovery in humpback whale numbers since commercial whaling ended in New Zealand in 1963. In 2005, only 18 humpbacks were recorded, and Bott says this year’s numbers are very encouraging.
Tourism operators like Black Cat Cruises at Aakaroa, in Canterbury, have also reported increased sightings of humpbacks, which pass the company’s Banks Peninsula doorstep on their way north from the Southern Ocean.
The company says humpbacks were seen off the Akaroa heads three times in just one week delighting tourists including a group of 16 North American travel agents.
Banks Peninsula is on the direct route for Southern Ocean humpbacks as they migrate thousands of kilometres between low latitude winter breeding and calving grounds in Antarctica and sub-tropical waters of western and eastern Australia and Fiji.
Relaxed and playful
The humpback whales are well known for their spectacular breaching and beautiful complex songs and many spotted in the Akaroa Harbour have been relaxed and playful, apparently happy to be amongst the local natives - including Hector’s dolphins, the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world.
Nadine Bott said humpbacks seen in Cook Strait also appeared relaxed and playful. The whales had come in closer to shore than normal and were happy to rest and linger - more so than other years.
Clear weather and calm sea conditions had made it easier to spot whales this season and photos provided would be particularly valuable for research.
Southern right whales
The Department of Conservation has put out its annual call for members of the public to photograph and report any sightings of southern right whales, which are normally prevalent at this time of the year, and can be easily spotted because they come close to shore.
Photographs are a less invasive, less expensive way to provide information which helps with identifying whales and monitoring their patterns of movement.
Auckland and Otago universities are investigating how southern right whales move around New Zealand.
DOC says the most useful part of the southern right whale to photograph are the callosities - yellowish, raised rough patches of tissue on the head. Each whale has a unique pattern of callosities that only change very slightly over time.
Laura Boren, DOC’s national mammal co-ordinator says there have been fewer sightings of southern right whales in New Zealand waters this year, which is strange after high numbers during the 2010 migration season.
The reasons could be to do with unseasonal weather and the whales staying off-shore, but further answers could come to light after a New Zealand research team completes a study in the Auckland Islands over winter, says Boren.
The southern right whale migration season runs from May through to October each year. So far there have been sightings off Ruapuke Island and Dog Islands in Southland, and in Whareongaonga, south of Young Nick's Head on the western tip of the North Island East Coast region.
(100% Pure New Zealand)
23 Sep 2016 Canterbury Earthquake
New Zealand Government Hon Gerry BrownleeMinister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration 23 September... more
23 Sep 2016 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk Friday 23 September 2016 12:47 PM RBNZ pushes for new quarterly disclosure regime By Paul McBeth Sept. 23 ... more
18 Jul 2016 Lifestyle
The Outlook for Someday Young New Zealanders Making Films For Good What does sustainability mean to you? Since 2007 The Outlook for... more
3 Aug 2016 Property
Wednesday 03 August 2016 10:30 AM Auckland house prices are stabilising, may have plateaued, Barfoot says Aug. 3 (BusinessDesk) -... more
2 Aug 2016 Property
Article - BusinessDesk NZ home values rise at fastest quarterly pace in 12 years By Tina Morrison Aug. 2 (BusinessDesk) - New... more
30 Mar 2016 Migration
British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair is defending changes to skilled migrant rules for Britain but suggests they won't affect... more
25 Aug 2016 Travel & Tourism
New Zealand Government Hon Wagner using the new eGates at Wellington Airport.... more
10 Aug 2016 Travel & Tourism
Article - BusinessDesk Wednesday 10 August 2016 12:19 PM Aug. 10 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand accommodation providers had their... more
23 Sep 2016 Netball
Netball NZ Stars to hit the court for FAST5 Ferns Friday 23 September, 2016The FAST5 Ferns will be eyeing off a fourth straight title... more
25 Aug 2016 Motor Sport
25 Aug 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on the end game in Spain First published on Werewolf more
11 Aug 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on the Impotence of the Reserve Bank First published on Werewolf more
29 Aug 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Jo Goodhew Minister for Food Safety 29 August 2016 Jane Lancaster has been appointed to the Food ... more
12 Aug 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Hekia ParataMinister of Education 12 August 2016 Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for... more
3 Aug 2016 Recruitment
New Zealand Government Hon Steven Joyce Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment 3 August 2016 Jobs growth continues... more
3 Aug 2016 State of the Market Report
Wednesday 03 August 2016 11:57 AM NZ private sector wage inflation misses expectations in June quarter Aug. 3 (BusinessDesk) - New... more